May 28, 2014
Because when I wrote a column about women bristling at strangers telling them to smile, I promptly got an email with the tagline, "Stop whining and smile, Bitch!"
The hashtag #YesAllWomen, used more than 1 million times so far and showing no signs of slowing, has launched an international dialogue about the role of misogyny in the Elliot Rodger shooting, as thousands upon thousands of women and men have taken to social media to share their experiences and thoughts about sexual harassment, rape and how a culture rife with misogyny is, indeed, a part of the latest tragic killing spree. Not the only part, but a vital one.
From Kendall (@KendallMcK): Because women are taught to hate themselves if men reject them, and men are taught to hate women if women reject them. #YesAllWomen
From Addie Wagenknecht (@wheresaddie): Because men don't text each other that they got home safe. #YesAllWomen
Rodger's journals and YouTube videos were filled with venom aimed at the young women who rejected him and vows of "retribution."
"You forced me to suffer all my life, now I will make you all suffer," the 22-year-old said in his final video. "I waited a long time for this. I'll give you exactly what you deserve, all of you. All you girls who rejected me, looked down upon me, you know, treated me like scum while you gave yourselves to other men."
As The Guardian's Jessica Valenti wrote over the weekend, "Rodger, like most young American men, was taught that he was entitled to sex and female attention."
From singer/songwriter Aimee Mann (@aimeemann): The cops who asked me "Well, what were you wearing?" when I reported an attack and attempted rape. #YesAllWomen
From "Inside Edition" reporter Lisa Guerrero (@4lisaguerrero): Because I routinely get sexually harassed online (including rape threats) after my investigations air. Male reporters do not. #YesAllWomen
The dialogue has the feel, to me, of a game-changer. The majority of posts are from women, but men are weighing in frequently and passionately. We're talking to each other — rather than just about each other — on this one.
From Joshua Malina (@JoshMalina): Having a daughter has a huge effect on how you view men. Having a mother should too. #yesallwomen.
From John Hodgman (@hodgman): B/c If the worst my daughter has to confront is getting trolled by a men's right's dude on the internet, that is BAD ENOUGH #YesAllWomen
From J-Dubs (@Brotherwags): #YesAllWomen because in a manifesto calling women "stupid animals" and "like a plague"--people are STILL saying it's UNRELATED to misogyny.
A dialogue is not going to stamp out misogyny. In fact, the campaign itself is inspiring petulant little spurts. ("#YesAllWomen find something to complain about. Always," is one of the more benign examples.)
But the naysayers feel, here, like sad little voices being drowned out by humanity, progress and courage. Even #NotAllMen, a hashtag response intended to defend men from the backlash, has been largely taken over by men and women defending #YesAllWomen.
From Dave Zirin (@EdgeofSports): #notallmen are standing up to sexual violence and misogyny....and that's the problem.
From Nathan Crowder (@NateCrowder): If your reaction to #YesAllWomen is #NotAllMen then you should take a long, hard look at yourself. You're part of the problem.
From Chip Zdarsky (@zdarsky): #notallmen have been blocked by me today. But a whole lot have been.
And because the guy who sent me the "stop whining" email closed with this paragraph:
"Well sweetheart, baby cakes, chick, doll, honey, bitch, queen of the hop, diva, when you leave for work tomorrow give the first guy who undresses you visually a great big smile and say to yourself, you must be one hot broad. Remember we can't have intercourse with whatever brains you may have, so settle on being a sex object until such time that all of your allure is gone. If you think my thoughts on what has been stated here is not shared by far more men then you could imagine, you would be wrong big time!"
To which I say: #NotAllMen.
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